Pickwick syndrome

Pickwick syndrome2016-12-07T06:09:04+00:00

Pickwick syndrome 

Pickwick syndrome image from New Medical Terms

Joe, the Fat Boy in the Pickwick Papers


A complication of extreme obesity, which is characterised by severely compromised cardiorespiratory activity

Clinical findings Decreased tidal and expiratory reserve volumes, alveolar hypoventilation, hypoxia, cyanosis and hypercapnia, if severe and prolonged, dyspnoea, polycythemia, cardiac hypertrophy, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary oedema, congestive heart failure, extreme somnolence, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Management Weight loss; oxygen therapy may be fatal, as it removes the chemoreceptor drive needed for respiratory movement

Sir William Osler coined the name pickwickians for obese, sleepy people, based on a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers (1837), fat boy Joe, who often succumbed to sudden spells of irresistible sleep

Synonyms Cardiopulmonary obesity syndrome, pickwickian syndrome, obesity-hypoventilation syndrome, sleep apnea/obesity hypoventilation syndrome 

References http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_hypoventilation_syndrome


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